From Ho Chi Minh to Chiang Mai – An Adventure in Asia

Your Escape Details

Ancient ruins, fascinating cultures, and bustling cityscapes await on this 15-day tour through Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand. See Angkor Wat at sunrise with the help of a local expert, embark on a boat tour through Bangkok’s small canals, and explore historical cities in the old capital city of Ayutthaya. Along the way, you’ll get plenty of opportunities to learn about local villagers and traditional cultures through overnight homestays, truly and immersive experience!

Our small group tours are specifically curated to bring you deeply into the destination. Food, drink, people, customs and soft adventure activities to get you close to the natural surroundings. Specifically on this trip you hike each day around volcanic craters, past waterfalls and through wetlands.

Our service is second to none, from your decision to join our tour, throughout the trip and when you get home, we will be there for you.

Each escape brings you experiences you wouldn’t find on your own.

Tour dates March 8 – 22, 2020

Escape With Us

Our escapes are unique in offering you an adventure filled itinerary with a local flavor. We work with local guides, planners and connections to make sure you do, see and even eat and drink things you may not have even thought of on your own.

Small Groups

We keep our groups small so we get to know each other and travel together, unified by the destination and our experiences.  Often lifelong friendships are forged. If anything, our growing group of like minded travelers start traveling together on future trips. “Where should we go next?” is often the last question asked as we depart for home.

Are you traveling solo? It is our pleasure to welcome you to our small group. We will match you with another solo traveler of the same gender. If you wish, you may choose to pay a solo supplement to have your own room. Please check for availability.

For each trip, you will be invited to our Facebook group so you can chat with fellow travelers, dream about the upcoming trip together, maybe prepare together, hiking, practice a useful skill, etc. Usually, we also organize a get together about a month before the trip to share information, pass out travel documents, and ‘break the ice’ so when we embark on our trip we already know each other a bit. If you don’t live in the area, no worries, we will Skype you into the party and mail you your travel documents.

Itinerary

Day 1 Ho Chi Minh City

Arrive at any time.

The adventure begins tonight. Feel free to explore before your welcome meeting, but make sure you’re back in time to meet the group. After introductions, your CEO will review the details of your tour. Please note that normal check-in times apply at our start hotels, but you can usually store your luggage for the day if you arrive early.

You may want to consider adding a day in Ho Chi Minh City to further explore this amazing city.

Day 2 Ho Chi Minh City (Breakfast)

Travel to where the mighty Mekong empties into the South China Sea. Board a small boat and navigate through narrow canals, witnessing local living along the way. Stop to see cottage industries and their products for which the area is famous: delicious, chewy coconut candy and rice cakes.

After enjoying a day in the Mekong Delta, travel back to Ho Chi Minh City in time for an optional dinner.

Day 3 Ho Chi Minh City/Phnom Penh (Breakfast)

Travel day with border crossing from Vietnam to Cambodia. Settle in a traditional cyclo and depart from Wat Phnom. Tour busy streets to soak up the real vibe of the city. Pass the post office and Van’s restaurant, both stunning colonial buildings, and make your way to the Royal Palace and National Museum. Go along the riverside road and take in the atmospheric cafes that line the street.

Day 4 Phnom Penh (Breakfast)

Guided tour of Tuol Sleng Museum (S-21 Prison) and Choeung Ek (Killing Fields). Opt to visit the Royal Palace, the National Museum or the Central Market.

Meet a local guide to learn more about the dark side of Cambodian history. Visit to Choeung Ek, the site of the infamous Killing Fields. After, visit Tuol Sleng Museum (S-21 Prison), the notorious Khmer Rouge prison where thousands of Cambodians perished.

Enjoy a free afternoon to sightsee. Opt to explore the city’s many sights: the Royal Palace, the Silver Pagoda, and the National Museum. With time, choose to visit the Russian Market, Wat Phnom or sip a drink at a riverside café.

Day 5 Phnom Penh/Siem Reap (Breakfast)

Drive through the beautiful Cambodian countryside from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, the home base for exploring incredible Angkor Wat.

Day 6 Siem Reap (Breakfast | Dinner)

Enjoy a guided tour of the Angkor Wat temple complex. Opt to visit the Tonlé Sap floating village and the Angkor National Museum. Enjoy a traditional meal of Khmer food at a G Adventures for Good-supported project.

Spend two days exploring Angkor, the former capital of the Khmer kingdom and one of the wonders of the archaeological world. See some of the highlights of this ancient capital, like sunrise at the magnificent temple of Angkor Wat with a guided tour, the enigmatic Bayon within the walled city of Angkor Thom, and Ta Prohm, also known as the ‘Tomb Raider’ temple.

Enjoy a traditional meal to learn about Khmer food and meet some friendly locals. Alternating locations of our included local meal means we can support multiple small businesses and projects in the area. Each experience is truly unique and memorable.

Day 7 Siem Reap (Breakfast)

Spend another day in Siem Reap, exploring more temples of Angkor or going further afield.

Choose from optional activities like the Tonle Sap Floating Village or Siem Reap Quad biking.

Day 8 Siem Reap/Bangkok (Breakfast)

Cross the border into Thailand and continue on to the bustling metropolis of Bangkok.

Get ready to cross into Thailand. Aranyaprathet is known for being one of the most hectic border crossings but your CEO will help make the process go as smoothly as possible. The border crossing is done on foot and can take up to an hour so be patient, enjoy the experience and think of all the fun Thailand has in store.

Day 9 Bangkok

Head out and explore all you can in this sprawling city.

Day 10 Bangkok/Kanchanaburi (Breakfast | Dinner)

Enjoy a klong longtail boat tour of Bangkok on the busy Chao Phraya River. Go through the smaller klongs (canals) to see skyscrapers, temples, and shops in the distance, and the densely populated waterfront settlements up close.

Then visit Wat Po, this temple is known for its reclining Buddha, its feet covered with mother-of-pearl engravings of Buddhist symbols. Explore the large grounds and other compounds to see other Buddha figures, murals and the chedis that contain the ashes of Buddha. This is also the birthplace of traditional Thai massage.

Travel to Kanchanaburi and head to your floating rafthouse accommodation. Enjoy free time to explore.

Day 11 Kanchanaburi (Breakfast)

Enjoy a short drive to Erawan Waterfalls one of the world’s most beautiful waterfalls. Its seven tiers offer a unique experience at every climb, reaching up to 1,500m (4921 ft). Swim in the turquoise pools, snap photos from the top tier, and opt to hike in the jungle to spot monkeys.

Following visit the Bridge on the River Kwai. Take in a piece of World War II history on this visit. We’re sure you’ve seen or at least heard of the famous movie “Bridge on the River Kwai.” Well, now you can tour the real thing. It’s massive, majestic, and imposing, and offers fabulous views of the river below.

Day 12 Kanchanaburi to Ayutthaya (Breakfast)

Explore the Allied War Cemetery and the Thai-Burmese Railway Center to learn more about the area’s history.

Visit the ruins of Ayutthaya, which served as Thailand’s capital from the 14th to 18th centuries, when it ranked as one of the most magnificent cities in the world. Located 86km (53 mi) north of Bangkok, the ruins of this UNESCO World Heritage Site include stunning pagodas and Buddha images.

Visit the Allied War Cemetery and the Thai-Burmese Railway Museum to learn about the Death Railway’s dark history. More than 6,000 prisoners are buried at the cemetery.

Day 13 Ayutthaya to Chiang Mai (Breakfast)

Spend a full day exploring Ayutthaya before boarding an overnight train to Chiang Mai.

Day 14 Chiang Mai

Arrive in Chiang Mai and explore the city. Chiang Mai is a vibrant city with heaps to see and do. Famous for its night market, cooking classes, and Muay Thai, it’s a feat to fit it all in. Explore the rural lanes of Chiang Mai in a tuk-tuk by pre-booking the Full Day Tuk-Tuk Adventure or experience the flavours and scents of traditional northern Thai cuisine by pre-booking the Northern Thai Cooking Class.

Visit Doi Suthep in the afternoon. Visit Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, a golden Buddhist temple outside of Chiang Mai on the Mt Doi Suthep. Climb 300 steps to reach the temple and be rewarded with an unforgettable view. Admire the many Buddhist relics at this sacred temple and visit the white elephant shrine. Legend has it that the location of the temple was chosen after a white elephant carried a relic to the mountain and trumpeted three times before dying on the spot. Also, with a little luck, you may witness the chanting of the monks.

Day 15 Chiang Mai (Breakfast)

Depart at any time. You may also want to opt to add a day or two in this area.

Your Investment

Your Investment is $1749 per person based on double occupancy. (we will match same gender roommates) If you want your own room, the supplement is just $299 (single space is limited).

The deposit to hold your space is $250 per person.  Final Payment is on December 1, 2019.

If you prefer to make payments, please contact us and we will arrange a plan that works.

Your Trip Includes

  • 12 Breakfasts, 2 dinners
  • Tour guide throughout with local guides at certain sites
  • 12 nights accommodation in hotels/guesthouses, 1 night in a rafthouse, 1 night on a sleeper train
  • Your G for Good Moment: Local Khmer Meal,
  • Siem Reap
  • Your Discover Moment: Bangkok
  • Your Local Living Moment: Overnight Rafthouse Excursion, Kanchanaburi.
  • Mekong Delta day trip.
  • Cyclo tour (Phnom Penh).
  • Tuol Sleng prison and Choeung Ek (Killing Fields) entrance and guide.
  • Two-day Angkor Wat complex entry and guide, including sunrise tour. Wat Pho visit.
  • Klong riverboat tour.
  • Erawan Falls and Bridge on the River Kwai visit (Kanchanaburi).
  • Thai-Burma Railway Centre and Allied War Cemetery visit.
  • Temple ruins tour (Ayutthaya).
  • Doi Suthep temple visit (Chiang Mai).
  • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.

Your Trip Does Not Include

  • International flights (round trip out of Boston flights are pricing at $590 per person)
  • Meals not listed in itinerary
  • Arrival and departure transfers
  • Travel insurance
  • Optional tours
  • Gratuities

How We Make Your Escape Awesome!

Our groups are typically 10-15 travelers. We aren’t a ‘big bus’ tour and don’t want to be. We don’t just look out the window and drive by the sights. Typically, our tours are custom and private. The advantage is, we can say, ‘stop here, we want to see this’ and we can stop and explore, even if it isn’t in the plan. Yes, we have an itinerary, but we also feel it’s important to take advantage of unexpected moments that arise. We attract travelers who are flexible and adventurous. A bit of spontaneity is a good thing!

You should know, our travelers are like you, they don’t want a canned tour, they like a sense of freedom on their trip, they understand the value of flexibility in travel, and they love the idea of working with a planning team that understands and respects their travel values.

So, Is this Trip for You?

  • You love traveling with like minded people and a tour company that is focused on traveling deeply into a destination, knowing how to read the group and make the best decisions for a perfect trip.
  • Activities are moderate, multiple hours, varied terrain.
  • You find joy in trying new things, food, activities, etc.
  • Plans are good, and important to a great trip, however, flexibility sometimes brings a deeper experience and it’s OK with you.
  • You enjoy meeting and traveling with new people.

This Trip is Not for You If…

  • Travel is stressful and sometimes you find yourself anxious and frustrated when things don’t go perfectly as planned.
  • New things, new situations, aren’t really your thing.
  • You are unsure that you physical conditioning is up to active days.
  • You don’t like trying unusual local foods.
  • You feel uncomfortable and unsafe in places that are ‘foreign’ to Western culture.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often will I change accommodations during the trip?

You are moving consistently to travel throughout the itinerary. Most stops are for 2 nights, Siem Reap is three nights, other stops are just overnight.

Can I extend my stay?

Absolutely, adding a pre or post stay always enhances a trip. You spent the money to get there, why not stay a while? We will be happy to help you make plans.

What airport do I fly into and out of?

You will fly into Ho Chi Minh City and fly home from Chiang Mai.

What are VISA requirements for these countries?

Viet Nam – You must have a valid passport and a visa (or pre-approval for a visa on arrival) to enter Vietnam. Your passport must be valid for six months beyond your planned stay, and you must have at least one blank visa page. Please visit,  Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs website for more information.

Cambodia –  You can obtain your visa at the Cambodian border at Siem Reap for approx. $30 USD very easily. Please have *at least* 2 passport photos with you. You may choose to apply for an e-Visa in advance.

Thailand – No visa is required unless you are staying in the country for more than 15 days.

What type of currency is used in these countries?

During this tour the local currencies you will use are the Vietnamese Dong, US Dollar, Cambodian Riel and Thai Baht.

Who do I contact for other questions and travel advice?

Call us at 860-779-6531 or send an email to lwhittemore@cruiseplanners.com

What is the age group of my potential fellow travelers?

Our guests typically range in age from 45-75. They tend to be of an age where they are either already retired and traveling is an objective for them, or are getting close. There are some tours that attract a younger group, sometimes adult children of a traveler in the group will join the tour.

Groups tend to be predominantly female, although we are wanting a good mix of men and woman, solo and couples traveling.

In any case, our travelers are in good health, active and adventurous.

I’m not a tour person, will this be too much of a standard tour for me?

No worries here, your fellow travelers feel exactly the same way and so do we, your tour curators. Of course there are some parts of our tours that are standard, we travel often by a van or motor coach, we eat together and do activities together. What makes us different, are two critical things, we don’t like traditional touring either, we work hard to be different. And two, you will always have the opportunity to choose. If you want to do something on your own or different than the group plan, you are welcome to do that.

We would love to have you join us! We will do our best to provide the opportunities and activities that allow you to make amazing memories and lasting friendships. We are looking forward to traveling with you.

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